RULES REVISONS FOR VIRTUAL TOURNAMENTS
1 Debate Prep Time: We will extend prep time for debate to accommodate for technology concerns. Prep time will follow the NSDA Nationals guidelines.
Those are as follows:
Policy: 8 minutes per side
Lincoln Douglas: 5 minutes per side
Public Forum: 4 minutes per side
2 Electronic Device Use in Debate Events (NSDA Pilot Internet Rules 2020):
a. Contestants may use electronic devices (including laptop computers, tablets, and/or cell phones) to
access the internet during debate rounds with the following conditions:
i Computers or other electronic devices may not be used to receive information for competitive
advantage from non-competitors (coaches, assistant coaches, other students) inside or outside
of the room in which the competition occurs. Information that would be restricted would include but
not be limited to coach/nonparticipating competitor general arguments, advice on arguments to run,
questions to ask during cross examination, and other information not generated by the participating
ii Internet access may be used to retrieve files, exchange evidence and/or arguments, research
arguments, and partner to partner communication. These electronic device guidelines to not limit
communication between debate partners during the debate round.
b. Penalty: Contestants found to have violated these provisions will be disqualified from the tournament and
will forfeit all rounds and merit points in that event.
c. Availability of Evidence: Contestants electing to use computers have the responsibility to promptly provide
a copy of any evidence read in a speech for inspection by the judge or opponent. Printers may be used.
Evidence may be printed in the round or produced electronically but must be provided in a format readable
by the opposing team and the judge.
d. Contestants electing to use computers are responsible for providing their own computers, batteries,
extension cords, and all other necessary accessories. Tournament hosts will not be responsible for
providing computers, printers, software, paper, or extension cords for contestants. Host schools may
provide wireless internet access, but will not guarantee that contestants will be able to gain access when
e. Contestants choosing to use laptop computers and/or related devices accept the risk of equipment failure.
Judges and/or contest directors will give no special consideration or accommodation, including no additional
speech time or prep time, should equipment failure occur.
f. By choosing to use electronic devices in the round, debaters and other relevant parties are consenting to
give tournament officials the right to search their devices in the event of a protest. The device may only be
searched by tournament officials and must be restricted to files and/or electronic exchanges relevant to the
protest. Failure to comply would result in the upholding of the protest. Debaters and coaches should be
present as their device is searched. Debaters who do not wish to consent should not use electronic devices
in the round.
3. Electronic Device Use in Extemporaneous Speaking (NSDA Pilot Internet Rules 2020)
a. Preparation: As soon as a question is chosen, the contestant will prepare a speech without consultation and
without references to prepared notes. Students may consult published books, magazines, newspapers and
journals or articles, including internet enabled devices either used in the draw or those materials published
from internet sources, provided:
i They are originals or copies of whole pages.
ii Provided those originals or copies are uncut.
iii Topical index without annotation may be present.
iv Files stored either on a computer or electronic device hard drive or cloud storage system. All files in this
format must meet the same guidelines as printed sources.
v Active research from the internet during the round that meets the established criteria found in the
“Guidelines for Use of Internet Enabled Devices.”
b No other material will be allowed in the Extemp prep room other than stated above. Extemp speeches,
handbooks, briefs and outlines, including those stored on cloud storage systems or published on websites
created for that purpose, are prohibited from the Extemp prep room. Students may not use the internet to
gain help from coaches, other students, or any person, such that it would prevent the speech from being the
original work of the competitor. Students are prohibited from accessing outlines and speeches that have
been written prior to their draw time. Underlining or highlighting in Extemp will be allowed if done in only one
color on each article or copy. Electronic device use must comply with the “Guidelines for Electronic Device
Use in Debate Events.” Printed copies of information from online computer services may be used.
Electronically retrieved evidence used in any Association Extemp competition must conform to the same
citation standards as evidence used in debate events as described in the Unified Manual.
4 Asynchronous Recording:
a Submitted competition videos should be “one take” with no editing or post-production.
b Backdrops and Recording Equipment: Competitors may not use green screens, virtual backdrops, on-screen
text, or professional equipment enhancements such as professional lighting kits or professional grade
camera recording and audio devices (including things like softboxes or using an auditorium’s lighting
system) during their performance in any event. Other individuals may be present while filming, but audience
interaction (laughing, applause, etc.) must not be included in the performance. Competitors may determine
how close or distant the camera is set up in order to maximize both verbal and nonverbal communication.
If possible, it is recommended that students and judges remove items that may be distracting in the
background. Backdrops of a solid color with no special markings may be used by competitors and judges.
c Judges should be instructed to prioritize the student’s performance over videography.
d Tournament hosts should clarify their expectations regarding video submissions for all events.
e DUO INTERPRETATION: In their invitations, tournament hosts should clarify video expectations to enhance
equity among entries. (At the MSHSAA District & State tournaments, Duo Interpretation will be submitted as
a split screen video.)
5 Other Equity Concerns:
a Students and judges should be permitted to turn their cameras off during synchronous debate rounds to
address bandwidth equity issues.
b Judges need to be firmly instructed not to comment on a student's home/competition setting.
c We encourage schools to use NFHS, NSDA, or other training materials regarding equity and judge training.
d Judging of asynchronous competition can begin earlier than Friday at 2 PM. Synchronous competition
involving students can still not begin prior to 2 PM on Friday or before 4 PM Monday-Thursday.
6 Duet Acting: Due to equity concerns regarding social distancing, Duet Acting will not be offered at the MSHSAA
District and State Tournament for 2021.
7 Readers Theater and One Act: A final decision will be made by Nov. 1, however for planning purposes; at this
time, these events may not be occurring during the 20-21 school year.
8 Recording Rounds at Tournaments: Just as video recording is not permitted at in-person competitions,
recording virtual rounds is prohibited.
Duo Interpretation Recommendations
Given the different county and district regulations due to COVID-19, invitational hosts will need to provide clear information about Duo Interpretation in their invitations.
If a tournament is running Duo Interpretation as an asynchronous event, you will need to make a decision regarding how Duo Interpretation is recorded. You may require a split-screen recording (similar to NSDA's requirement for the 2020 national tournament) or allow a mixture of split-screen recordings and competitors performing in one screen together.
Synchronous If a tournament is running Duo Interpretation as a synchronous event, you will need to use a Zoom-like technology to permit students to virtually enter a room together and perform or permit students to perform together in the same room.
Because the different presentation methods create an issue of competitive equity in the event, it is imperative that hosts clearly state how Duo Interpretation will be run at their tournament so coaches and teams can make an informed decision.